Tim Jernigan

Eagles get back middle linebacker for Super Bowl LII

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Eagles

Eagles get back middle linebacker for Super Bowl LII

MINNEAPOLIS — The next hour and a half is just the calm before the storm. The Eagles are about to play in Super Bowl LII. 

For the game, they'll get back middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. The 32-year-old missed the NFC Championship Game with a hamstring injury, but he wasn't missing this one. 

The same can be said for Tim Jernigan and Ronald Darby, who both dealt with illness this week in Minnesota. They're active and ready to go; just keep an eye on them to see if they get a little fatigued. 

Here are the Eagles' inactive players: Wendell Smallwood, Marcus Johnson, Elijah Qualls, Steven Means, Sidney Jones, Will Beatty, Destiny Vaeao. 

With Vaeao inactive, the Eagles are going with three active defensive tackles, something they did against the Falcons in the divisional game. Expect Fletcher Cox to play nearly the whole game on Sunday night. 

Patriots inactives: RB Mike Gillislee, DL Alan Branch, LB David Harris, OL Cole Croston, WR Kenny Britt, TE Jake Hollister, WR Bernard Reedy. 

What is Eagles' formula to beat Tom Brady?

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USA Today Images

What is Eagles' formula to beat Tom Brady?

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- If the Eagles are going to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, their defensive line is going to need to be dynamic. 

It's as simple as that. 

Because the Patriots are going to take the field led by Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, the Eagles' best chance to slow him down is by getting after him, hitting him and making his night miserable. It's not easy, but the front four needs to do it. 

"We look at it like that every week," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "As a defensive line, you have to disrupt the quarterback. As the leader of his team, that's how the offense gets going. Every week that's our standard. That's nothing new to us. We've been saying it all year."

Brady has played in seven Super Bowls and he's won five. The two he lost came to the New York Giants, who also had a dominating front four. 

Earlier this week, we caught up with former Giants pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora, who sees some clear similarities between those Giants teams and this Eagles team (see story). He thinks the Eagles have a real chance to win this game.  

The Eagles' defensive linemen didn't seem to know too much about those Giants' Super Bowl wins. They were young and seem to just remember that incredible David Tyree catch. But defensive line coach Chris Wilson watched and those games have been on his mind recently. 

"We go back and study but we try to go back and study things that are applicable, things that are current now and see how their mindsets were back then," Wilson said. "But so much has changed since those days. The one constant is Bill (Belichick) and Tom, they're consistent. But a lot of the pieces have changed. We go back and take a quick glance at it and see if they have any relevance now. If they do, we use it. If they don't, we just stick to what we have." 

The Eagles' front four has to get after Brady but it can't try to do too much. That's when things could get ugly. They have to be disciplined in their gaps and make sure they're doing what they're supposed to. 

"You just gotta do your job," Vinny Curry said. "Don't try to do nobody else's job. Do your job."

Those who have faced Brady before say that even when they get after him, he never really looks flustered. He might throw a few more incompletions than normal, but you're never going to see him hang his head or get some of the visible signs some other quarterbacks give. Wilson said the key is to just stay patient. 

"We're not blind to the fact, we know what we're up against," said Tim Jernigan, who spent the first few years of his career in the AFC. "I've had my experience playing against this guy. There were times where I beat the guy clean, never touched me, and I still never got to him. The guy is intelligent, he knows exactly where to go with the ball."

During the last two weeks of practice, backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld has been playing the role of Brady for the scout team. Everyone said he did a nice job and the Eagles could certainly use all the help they can get. 

Before these playoffs started, Fletcher Cox talked about how the defensive line is the highest paid unit on the team and the group needed to play like it. Through two games, he and his group certainly have. They have one more game to go. 
  
"I think it's just more magnified," Wilson said. "I think the biggest thing is the jump we made from Year 1 to Year 2. Now it's more magnified because now the whole world's watching. There are not 32 teams playing. Now you're down to that final four, there's more emphasis, there's more eyes on it. This is something I think they've been doing throughout the season."

Illness not a worry for trio of Eagles

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AP Images

Illness not a worry for trio of Eagles

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Tim Jernigan, Ronald Darby and Nelson Agholor, who all were affected by a bug during the team's week in Minnesota, were all feeling better Saturday and all participated in the team's brief walkthrough at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Head coach Doug Pederson told a league-appointed pool reporter after the walkthrough all three players affected by symptoms were fine. Jernigan is the only that missed practice, but he returned to work on Friday.

After three days of practice at the University of Minnesota, the Eagles held a 30-minute walkthrough Saturday at the stadium where they'll play the Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.

“It puts it into perspective now,” Pederson told pool reporter Kimberly A. Martin of the Washington Post.

“I think they can see it, when you’re on this field and you see everything around the stadium, you can feel it. It puts it all right there for us.”

Pederson said practicing in the stadium allows the players to get the "lay of the land" and "soak it all in."

Pederson confirmed that Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, his teammate on the Super Bowl-champion 1996 Packers, addressed the team earlier Saturday at the team hotel in Bloomington, but he declined to talk about Favre's message.  

Earlier in the day, the Patriots gathered at the stadium but only for a series of photos with players and their families.

"The families go through so much," Bill Belichick told AFC pool reporter Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

"They sacrifice so much for all of us and the time that we spend away and the strain that a season puts on them. So it's great to have them all here and it's great to give them an opportunity to be with their sons, daughters, husbands and to bring their family in and take pictures on the field and just kind of enjoy the day.

“It's a nice event for everybody — the players and families, and the team picture with the kids. Everybody will look back on this."